11 Ways to Gain Exposure as a Web Designer

As a web designer you may be faced with the challenge of getting your work and your abilities in front of others. If this is the case, here is a list of 11 different things you can do to get noticed.

1. Submit Your Designs to CSS Galleries

CSS galleries display high-quality designs, and you can submit yours to be considered for inclusion. The leading CSS Galleries (CSS Beauty, CSS Vault, CSS Drive, etc.) have huge audiences that will see your work if it is included. Additionally, there are a number of specialty galleries, such as Light on Dark, eduStyle, No Resolution, and The Horizontal Way.

2. Start a Blog

As a designer, maintaining a blog can be a great way to increase you exposure. Blog posts will give you an opportunity to share your knowledge with readers, build repeat traffic to your website, increase search engine traffic, and you can even use your blog to promote your services and display your recent projects. Writing articles and maintaining the blog will take some time, but I think you will find that the additional exposure that it brings will be well worth the time.

3. Give Away Free Templates or Blog Themes

By creating templates or blog themes you can display your quality of work and provide something free at the same time. Of course, your goal as a designer most likely involves earning an income, so you may feel that giving away your designs would be a bad decision. On the contrary, the free templates and themes can link back to your own website, which will increase your exposure with click-through traffic and improved search engine rankings. Additionally, others will link to you and refer friends to your work if the quality is high. In most cases you will only want to give away a part of your work, and then you can sell other templates, themes, or custom design services. Many designers who give away free themes also make money by offering to customize the theme for clients.

4. Give a Free Design to a High-Profile Client

If you don’t mind doing some work for free in order to really increase you earning potential in the future, contact someone who is high profile and has a significant influence. If you design a website or blog theme for a well-known or highly-trafficked website, it can be an incredible source of exposure for your work. The one free job may lead to 5 or 10 jobs at full price.

5. Run a Contest for a Free Design

Another option for gaining exposure through a free design is to run a contest. You could run the contest from your own website or blog, or you could sponsor a contest from a higher-profile blog. This is very common with premium WordPress themes right now. The contest will hopefully create a lot of interest and draw new visitors to your website.

6. Set Up Profiles on Freelance Websites

Freelance websites such as Elance, Guru, and Sologig (and there are many more) will allow you to set up a profile as a service provider and bid on jobs that others have posted. People looking for services will also be able to find your profile and contact you about designing for them.

7. Start a Community Site for Web Designers

There are a number of different types of community sites for web designers, such as forums, online magazines, multi-authored blogs, etc. By starting and promoting a community-based website you can gain exposure to other designers and visitors of those sites.

8. Write Tutorials

Writing tutorials is an excellent way to show your knowledge, help others, and gain some exposure at the same time. There are countless sites to which you could submit tutorials, or you could start your own tutorial website. Those who are reading the tutorials will see you as an expert on the subject if you are able to help them learn something new.

9. Design and Give Away Free Icons

There’s no shortage of free icons online , but designers are always interested in more. If you’re good at designing icons this can be a great method for drawing inbound links and getting others to your website.

10. Give Away Free CSS Navigation Menus

CSS navigation menus are a part of almost every website, so there is always a need and a demand for easy solutions. Creating some navigation menus and providing the code to visitors is one of the easier ways to provide the design community with something of value and to increase exposure.

11. Write Articles for Other Websites and Blogs

While maintaining your own blog is one option, writing for others will also help you to reach a larger and more diverse audience. There are plenty of websites and blogs that accept article submissions, including high-profile sites like SitePoint and A List Apart.

What Else?

What methods do you use to gain exposure?

Published February 6th, 2008 by

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44 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Dustin Brewer, February 6, 2008

    Great article, this is pretty much all of the ways that you can gain exposure as a web designer. Aside from these, really you just give quality work and great customer service and everything else will fall into place.

  • Vandelay Design, February 6, 2008

    Very true Dustin. No matter how you go about gaining exposure you have to provide quality work and good customer service. Thanks.

  • JBiggs, February 6, 2008

    I’m very enjoy reading this content.
    Thank you for good information :)

  • Vandelay Design, February 6, 2008

    Thanks for reading. I’m glad you are enjoying it.

  • Tim Rottmann, February 7, 2008

    Thank you very much for this article, I always enjoy reading your blog!
    I’ve just noticed that it is a quite hard thing to get exposure. I am just a “moonlighter” and started a blog recently about my traveling I do at the moment, but I try to add quality content about web development soon … I hope that will help me to get some exposure once I start working as a webdev again. So, let’s try some of your tips!

  • David Airey, February 7, 2008

    Excellent review, Steven.

    One other way is to use offline media. For instance, when my domain name was stolen, I contacted the press and soon after appeared in a couple of newspapers. That said, I’m not really a web designer. ;)

    Of course you don’t need to be on the end of a criminal act, but you can also write press releases that document your progress. Tailor them to your locality and write a catchy headline. You never know until you try.

  • Matthew Griffin, February 7, 2008

    I like your tips, Steven. Very true.

  • Sterling | Bizlift Blog, February 7, 2008

    Nice list of action items. Would love to hear more about your thoughts on a personal level. It would be cool if you could share which of these tips have worked best for you, and what some of the results have been. Obviously #2, the blog has been working well for you. Thank you for the info!

  • Vandelay Design, February 7, 2008

    Very good point. There is some real value in offline methods as well. Your situation definitely gave you some good exposure, but I hope I never have to go through that.

    As far as a personal level, I focus primarily on the blog and things relating to that (community sites, online networking, writing for other blogs, etc.). Regardless of what strategy you choose, I think it’s important to focus on only a few things and do it as well as possible, rather than spreading yourself thin. I’ve been hoping to release a WordPress theme or two but have yet to make that happen.

  • saul, February 8, 2008

    Hey, this is the spanish translated version of your article!



  • Vandelay Design, February 9, 2008

    Thanks for letting me know!

  • Tom Beaton, February 13, 2008

    You could also register on sites such as http://w3csites.com/

  • Fubiz, February 22, 2008

    Very good tips :)

  • Jared Walker, March 4, 2008

    Another way to get exposure is to take part in blogs and forums. If you have relevant things to say, people will visit your site from your signature link.

  • Tony, October 12, 2008

    I am not a web designer but have used many web designers for my company. I found crowdSPRING (www.crowdspring.com) to be very useful to us. It allows designers to put their site design and bids are placed.

  • Freelance job training, August 31, 2009

    i think the best way to expose for a web designer is to create free wordpress theme and add it in the internet for free download.It will take the designer to the top of the industry over night.

  • Ivan Tsankov, June 3, 2011

    The best way to gain exposure is to comment / write in high-profile blogs and forums. When writing, think about how your comment can be useful to the user. If it’s useful, then you can get some good backlinks to your site and visitors, of course!
    Great tips!